Unsafe Subway Steps Revealed in Viral Video

Recently, a short, documentary-like video of the 36th Street subway stop in Brooklyn has been circulating on the internet. The filmmaker, Dean Patterson, had been tripping up the steps every day when he exited this subway stop, so he decided to investigate whether he was the only person experiencing this issue. How did he accomplish this? By taking advantage of modern video technology, Patterson was able to capture many others repeatedly falling on the same step, some only stumbling and catching themselves and others falling on their faces.

After being posted to YouTube, Patterson’s video quickly went viral. It reached 481,000 views two days after being uploaded on June 27th. Additionally, many members of the YouTube community shared this video on their personal accounts, leading to thousands more views. This prompted news providers such as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and many others to report on the video, encouraging more people to view it and learn more about the danger this subway stop presented.

After the video was posted, the problem causing so many people to fall was uncovered: the steps were not uniform. The one particular step, located in the middle of the staircase, that consistently tripped people was slightly taller than the rest of the steps. This seemingly small difference clearly affected many commuters, both in terms of embarrassment and physical pain. Throughout the video, many innocent individuals are seen falling over this step. Fortunately, in response to the video, the city of New York blocked off the subway exit and decided to take action to correct this issue. (If you would like to watch the video, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap-22FjgoE4 .)

Since the faulty staircase was in a subway station, the city of New York could have been held liable for any tripping accidents that ensued. However, in New York, governmental entities are entitled to a written notice of the details of an accident within a 90-day time period of when the incident occurred. Formally, this is called a “Notice of Claim.” When suing the city, one must file a Notice of Claim within the required timeframe, or the right sue is forfeited. Unfortunately, the video by Patterson is not substantial enough to be viewed as a Notice of Claim, as it was created to be shared amongst people and not for legal purposes. Moreover, when a Notice of Claim is filed, it must be sent to the proper authorities. Posting a video on YouTube does not meet this requirement.

If you have been injured due to dangerous stairways or other unsafe property, our skilled New York premises liability lawyers can help you with the legal steps necessary to filing a lawsuit. For more information, contact Hach & Rose, LLP, today.


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